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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 22: Dragon’s Den

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey Not all missions are about beating up bad guys as Arka Squad learns in this chapter where they explore the Dragon's Den.
Chapter 22: Dragon’s Den

The early morning silence was interrupted by laughter. My laughter. I was the first of the five of us to wake up which also made me the first one to read today’s newspaper. The paper was limp in my hands while I leaned back in my chair at the kitchen table giggling at what I had just read.

“What is so funny that you had to interrupt my beauty sleep?” Eve demanded grumpily walking into the kitchen. As I explained before, her room is closest to the living room. The kitchen is to the left of the living room making her room also the closest to the kitchen. Although since I chose the living room floor as my sleep area, that could make me the closest, but I digress.

“Well good morning to you too.” I said sarcastically. I was taken slightly off guard by her nightwear, a very short see-through purple nighty. Lucky for my biological instincts, the top was opaque. “*Ahem* If you don’t want Zack hitting on you, then you shouldn’t be wearing such a revealing outfit. I can see your panties you know.” I pointed out.

“That’s exactly why I’m wearing this. After yesterday I think he might replace you as my favorite chew toy.” she said matter-of-factly with a playful vibe. Oh I should feel so honored. “But what do you care? You even said you thought Kaguya’s sexual harassment was funny.” Eve’s eyes widened as if she had just had an epiphany. “You actually like it don’t you? Aww… so cute.” she teased getting a little too close for comfort. This is the last thing I wanted, her getting the wrong idea and finding some way to twist it even further in that wicked mind of hers.

“Anyway, you wanted to know why I was laughing earlier?” I said changing the subject and handing Eve the newspaper. “Have a look.” She snatched the paper from my hands and began looking over it.

“‘Team Neos Thwart Team Rocket Scheme at Route 34 Day Care Center.’” she read off the headline. “Aha! We made the front page! Go us!” she cheered gleefully. While she had been reading I picked up a white mug to sip my chai tea, still hot from the microwave.

“I know. The four of us actually make a pretty bitchin’ team if you ask me.” I stated putting down my cup.

Excuse me, four?” Axel, who was sitting to my left, questioned unhappily crossing his arms while throwing his feet on the table and crossing them too.

“I’m sorry, five. But I was counting us as the same combative mind in two separate bodies.” I apologized. “Besides, if you want to cut hairs like that, then there are really thirty of us. Five humans plus six Pokémon each minus Zack who only has one.” I analyzed.

“Fun article.” said Eve throwing the paper back at me. “Not all the details are correct and some of the stuff was embellished to make us look bad, but what the hell. It doesn’t change what we did.” she reviewed. “Now since my appearance has you all hot and bothered, I’m going back to my room and getting dressed.” she played just for the sake of toying with me, even going so far as to walk with a sexy swagger. Eve then turned to me with her index finger to her mouth. “Unless you’d rather me stay like this for a while longer.” she said taking a sexy pose and faking vulnerability.

“I actually don’t care what you do. Remember, I’m asexual so you can’t seduce me.” I reminded looking straight at her to prove my point. “Zack is probably the only one you’ll get excited while dressed like that.”

“Oh fine.” whined Eve in defeat. “I should have known better than to expect a reaction from someone who hasn’t reached puberty yet. I feel like a pedophile now.” she mocked.

“Since when is nineteen considered a minor?” I inquired with a raised eyebrow.

“Doesn’t matter. You’re still younger than me.” Eve said. At that moment her eyes widened with dread as she had just let a certain detail slip.

“Oh so you are older than me. By how much?” I asked taking advantage of the opportunity.

“So what if I am older? It makes no difference if I’m one year older or one thousand, you’re still a baby!” she yelled in frustration before storming off back to her room. I looked over at Axel smiling. I held out my hand soliciting a high-five from the monkey. I had just beaten Eve at her own game. Point mine.
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As everyone else woke up and came in for breakfast, I passed along the newspaper to show them our accomplishment. Zack had the same reaction as I did, getting a good chuckle out of the fact that our first mission was getting so much attention. Chane was both embarrassed and proud uttering a simple “Oh wow.” Raiden however, didn’t take it as well as the rest of us.

“What does it matter that we got in the news? The mission was a success and that is what counts. Yes, Team Neos needs media attention in order to recruit new members, but it is not essential. What is essential is the destruction of the enemy Teams. Anything else is just trivial.”

“Now why did you have to go and bring us down like that?” Zack asked dejectedly. “It was our first mission and it made front page. Can you blame us for getting a little excited?”

“Yes.” Raiden answered flatly. That quickly shut Zack up leaving him, and the rest of us, speechless. There was really no come back for that kind of response. The only thing that could be said after that would be ‘Damn’ and even that would just be a hollow retort. I quietly went back to my breakfast of eggs and bacon on an English muffin pondering how easily everyone in the room was silenced by a single word.
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A little while after everyone finished eating, Raiden instructed us to pack our things as we would be moving on to our next destination for another mission. We’d be getting the details as soon as everyone was ready.

It took me no time at all to pack up as I was simply living out of my backpack. I wasn’t intentionally trying to keep the living room clean; it was more of a habit I had developed from camping in the wilderness for five years so I wouldn’t lose anything.

“Well that’s it.” I said after stuffing my uniform into my pack. I then stored the green duct tape covered bag in an Item Ball for easier transport. I know I had told Axel before this would be a pain in the ass, but with the way we would be living from now on, this was much simpler.

I wonder where we’ll be going next.” Axel stated out loud. “I can’t wait to beat the crap out of more Rockets!” declared the monkey punching his fists together. That reminded me. I looked at my right hand that was still bandaged from the Scyther incident. I had actually completely forgotten that I had been wounded, and as such hadn’t changed my bandages in the last three days.

“If you need me, I’ll be in the bathroom.” I told the gold furred Infernape showing him my hand. I walked down the hall to the sterile looking white tiled room complete with a porcelain toilet, sink, and tub.

I stood over the sink as I unwrapped my hand so that I could wash it off. My jaw practically hit the floor when I finished removing the bandages. While the wrappings were stained a rusted brown red color from the blood, my hand was completely and fully healed. Not even a scar remained. I ran the index finger of my left hand across my palm. I still had feeling in my palm and it felt as it always had; no pain. I then brought my hand to my face; first I sniffed it, next I licked it. There was nothing abnormal that I could pick up on. It was just healed. Nothing more, nothing less.

They’re waiting for you.” said Axel walking in. I looked up at the monkey and turned my palm towards him. Axel tilted his head to the side investigating it. “How did such a nasty gash heal in three days?” he questioned as he grabbed my hand for a closer inspection.

“I don’t know.” I admit shaking my head. “Well we can’t keep Master Raiden and the others waiting now can we?” I rhetorically asked exiting the bathroom. Back in the living room the rest of my squad was lounging about on the furniture waiting. Eve opened her mouth to say some offhand comment, most likely about me and Axel being in the bathroom together, but she was quickly cut off by Raiden.

“Now that everyone is present, I will debrief you on today’s mission.” he interrupted, possibly unknowingly as there was no sign of scolding or reprimanding in his voice. Eve slouched back in the sofa with an unhappy sigh as her quip would now be late and not as menacing. “Today we will be heading to Blackthorn City to do reconnaissance in the legendary Dragon’s Den to see if it holds any information that can be useful to Team Neos.”

“Excuse me sir, but don’t we have a Stealth Force for that?” inquired Zack even raising his hand so he wouldn’t seem as rude.

“The Stealth Division is primarily for sending spies to infiltrate the ranks of our enemies to inform the Combat Division of the enemy’s activities. We also have spies infiltrating other areas of interest that would be important for Team Neos to exploit. The reason recon falls on the Combat Division is in case we encounter enemies.” Raiden explained.

“Then why not send a grunt squad?” asked Eve boredly putting her head in her hand like she wanted to fall asleep. Raiden sighed before continuing.

“If you all would let me continue, I could tell you.” he said. “The requirements for this mission call for more strength and strategy than grunts are capable of. Basically, we need to keep the Dragon Clan out of the way until we finish investigating the Dragon’s Den. Lance will be no problem because as of two days ago, the winner of the Indigo League tournament emerged from Victory Road and made it safely to Indigo Plateau. While she rests, all members of the Elite Four must report in for when the Trainer is ready to take them on. That eliminates the biggest threat. Next is Clair.” Raiden turned and looked directly at Zack. “In order to keep her out of the Den, you, Zack Kaguya, must issue a Gym Challenge. Your goal is not to defeat her, but to prolong the battle for as long as you can. The reason it has to be you is because I need to lead the mission, Brian already has the Rising Badge, and Eve and Chane will be needed to dispose of the guard at the entrance and the Dragon Clan Elder without drawing attention to us. Now gather your things and let us be off.”
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We arrived in Blackthorn two hours later via train and once again rented an apartment to use as a base. The building was a lot smaller than the one we had in Goldenrod due to Blackthorn City’s smaller population and isolated location at the top of a mountain bordering the treacherous Ice Path. Once we got to our room, Raiden, Eve, Chane, and I wasted no time in getting changed into our uniforms while Zack remained in his black slacks and red button down short sleeved shirt as he had the more “open” task.

“Alright. The four of us will go to the roof and take to the sky to minimize the number of people that see us. While we do that, Zack will make his way to the Gym to make sure Clair is present and challenge her to a battle. If she is not in the Gym, radio us immediately Zack.” instructed Raiden.

“You got it!” Zack agreed to his assignment.

As soon as we left the apartment, the rest of the recon team, Axel, and I darted up the nearest staircase until emerging on the roof of the building. The view from up here was amazing, almost breathe taking. I shook my head. This was no time to be admiring the sights. I had a job to do.

“Come Aerodactyl!” I called summoning the King of the Skies. Aerodactyl shrieked with delight upon emerging, flapping is purple skinned wings to get some lift off. That’s right. Before going extinct Aerodactyl were predominately found in the mountains, at least according to the fossil record. He must be feeling quite at home. Axel and I boarded the Rock/Flying duel-type to take us to Dragon’s Den.

Eve once again mooched a ride on Jace, while Raiden sent out a long silver steel disc. On its orb like shoulders were screws jutting out the back, a magnet forming hands, and an eye on each shoulder. A third magnet stuck out from its back like a tail and a red eye adorned its front. A yellow rod stuck out of a grey plate on the creature’s head.

“So your Magneton evolved I see.” I said stating the obvious.

“Indeed. It happened when I was in Sinnoh last autumn.” Raiden responded as the Magnezone attached itself to metal plates on Raiden’s back that he had modified to his uniform. “Well, shall we be off?” Each of us nodded as we left the roof.

The group flew over the city virtually out of sight until we hovered over Dragon’s Den. Standing on the landmass between Blackthorn City’s lagoon and the entrance of the cavern below us was a lone guard. Unknown to him, he would soon be taking an unexpected nap. It was time for our plan to begin!

“Get ready Diva.” said Eve sinisterly. Out of the Dusk Ball in her hand came a black mist with purple highlights that soon formed into the devilish Banette. Diva made a spine chilling hiss as she contorted her body like she was stretching after being cramped inside her ball. The wicked Ghost-type floated an inch above Chane’s Pidgeot in preparation for her command.

“Do your best Izzy.” Chane said gently as she held out a Pokéball releasing a tall, mostly green bipedal dinosaur like creature in midair. All I saw of the Breloom as she fell from the sky was her green mushroom-capped head with red orbs on the sides and her long off white tail tipped with four green spheres.

“Now Diva! Hold Izzy in the air with Psychic. And be gentle Sweetie. We don’t want to hurt our companion.” Eve told. I wasn’t sure if the ensuing screech from the deranged spirit was one of compliance or one of disappointment at not being able to brutalize the half Fighting-type. Either way, she did as told by suspending the Mushroom Pokémon right above our target. So long as the guard doesn’t look up in the next minute everything should run smoothly.

“Thank you Eve.” Chane said gratefully. “Izzy, could you please use Spore to put that man to sleep?” I noticed the unusual way she gave commands on our last mission but didn’t really think about it until now. It seemed to work for their team seeing that a pale blue powder began pouring out of the mushroom on Izzy’s head. The man below began to slowly nod off until finally succumbing to the attack and slumping over into a sitting position with his head in his lap. Part Two was a success.

With the guard asleep, Izzy was the first to be lowered to the ground touching down on her red talons and standing a full four feet tall. Aerodactyl was the next to land followed by Jace and last was Raiden. As soon as Chane got off of her Pidgeot, she ran over to give her Breloom a hug. “You were great Izzy!” she complemented.

“Return your Pokémon everyone. We cannot dawdle out here too long, we do not want to get caught before we even get to do what we are here for.” Raiden ordered as he called back his Magnezone. The rest of us did as instructed leaving Axel as the only Pokémon remaining as usual. Without further delay, we entered the Dragon’s Den.

The moment we set foot in the underground cavern, my entire being began quivering. It was both an ominous feeling and a sense of belonging at the same time. I felt at peace and yet I wanted to lash out to release the surge of energy that passed through me. What was this? Every breath I took was like becoming one with the Dragon’s Den.

Yo! Are you still alive in there?” questioned Axel smacking my back effectively breaking my trance.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I responded coming back to my senses. “What is our next order of business Master Raiden?” I asked of our superior.

“We split up and investigate.” he answered nonchalantly. “Eve and Chane will take the eastern part of the Den, Brian and I will examine the western half.” Raiden went over pointing to each side as he spoke. “We will rendezvous at the Shrine in the center of the cavern where Eve will have Roserade use Grass Whistle to put the Clan Elder and everyone inside to sleep. At that point we will go over everything our respective groups have uncovered. Understood?” The three of us nodded in the affirmative before moving out to our respective areas.

Raiden, Axel, and I carefully inspected the west side making sure nothing was left unnoticed. When there was no longer any land for us to investigate, I sent out Snorlax for us to Surf on.

“Brian, can I ask you a personal question?” inquired the Third Seat with a serious tone. I turned to him in slight confusion. Sure Raiden was a serious guy, but he also seemed unconcerned with what the rest of us did so long as we didn’t cause too much trouble. This time however, he seemed as if he was concerned about something.

“Go ahead.” I said giving him permission as I was curious as to what he wanted to know.

“How much are you willing to give up for Team Neos?” Raiden asked just as seriously as before. I was even more confused now.

“What do you mean?” I asked hoping to get more detail.

“I mean Axel. You and he are very close, and I do not expect the two of you to ever separate. However, just like you observed this morning, our squad made the news. As we go on more high profile missions our endeavors will continue to be noticed. It will not be long before people realize that an Infernape with gold fur is hanging around Team Neos. Those who already know you will make the connection immediately. Strangers who see you on the street will be able to identify you as a member. You will have to sacrifice the pleasures of an ordinary life if you continue to wear that uniform. Are you prepared for that?”

I had never really thought about that before. I looked behind me to Axel who had also heard Raiden’s rationalization. He simply gave me the look that said ‘I’ll follow you no matter what.’ The true reality of what I had gotten myself into weighed heavily on my mind, but I had already made my choice.

“Master Raiden. I joined Team Neos so that I could change the world. Even if I must die in the process, as long as I give up my life knowing that I made a difference in bettering the lives of both mankind and Pokémon, then my sacrifice wasn’t in vain.” I said calmly. Raiden nodded in understanding.

“I see you have already made your peace with what is to come. It is the duty of the commanding officer to help his subordinates, therefore I will grant you assistance where ever and whenever you need it so do not be afraid to ask.” my commander affirmed. I smiled and nodded in appreciation.

The rest of the swim was silent save for the sound of water. That feeling I had before came back while I sat idle on Snorlax without distraction. We continued the reconnaissance once the Sleeping Pokémon got to the next landmass. During the investigation we gathered a good bit of data on Dragon’s Den, but nothing that I perceived as being too useful for Team Neos. Who knows though, Raiden might know how this information could be helpful.

The sound of a soothing whistle suddenly echoed through the underground cave. I felt my eyelids grow heavy and had to smack myself to stay awake. Eve and Chane must have made it to the Shrine. It also meant that we were nearing the Shrine as well.

“We have learned everything we can over here. Let us rejoin with the others.” declared Raiden. Once again Raiden, Axel, and I boarded my rotund blue bear in order to swim to the designated rendezvous point.

“So, what did the two of you find?” questioned our leader.

“Ummm… Just this.” Chane said pulling a pointed white tooth from her pocket. “I-it was just laying there and Eve said to take it with us.”

“It looked important so I figured what the hell.” added Eve to justify herself. I couldn’t help but stare at it. I felt like it was calling to me. The longer I stared, the more I wanted it.

“Can I have a look at that?” I posed holding out my hands to either catch the object or have it handed off.

“Uhhh… Sure.” answered Chane handing it to me. The moment my hand touched the tooth a surge of power shot through my body causing my muscles to spasm and my nerves to fire off wildly. At first it felt great, but then it just became too much! I screamed from the sheer intensity of it all. My head was spinning in a whirlwind of madness. I thought I had heard Axel call my name, but it sounded so distant. I feel to my knees from loss of control over my body while I gripped my head. I have no memory of what happened after that.
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Why do I feel so dizzy? I tried opening my eyes, but they only flickered. I could not fully open them. It felt like the whole area around me was spinning. I lifted my right arm and threw it over my face. The way it fell and that fact that there was a cool damp washcloth on my forehead told me I was laying down on my back.

“Ah! Y-you’re awake!” I heard Chane say with relief.

“Wha… happen? Whe… am I?” I asked jadedly unable to form tangible words quite yet. I then heard the sound of Eve’s mocking laughter.

“You fainted you baby. Then we had to drag your sorry ass all the way home.” she ridiculed.

“Be nice Eve!” Chane defended. I tried saying thanks, but all that came out was a weak hum. Next I tried sitting up, but attempting to rise only made me feel lightheaded. Before I fell back, I felt a hand grab me and help me sit up. By now I could see again and standing over me was the ever faithful Axel.

Take it easy monkey boy.” the Flame Pokémon told me. I nodded to him gratefully.

The only people in the room were the girls still wearing their uniforms with the hood down and we two monkeys. I was also still in my pale grey uniform with the hood down. In my hand was the washcloth that I’m guessing Chane put on me. The lights in the room were off with the only light coming from the window behind the bed I was laying in. Even then the sun was beginning to set leaving the room a mix of gold and red. We hadn’t had a chance to claim rooms before leaving on our mission, but I guess this one is now mine by default.

“So tell me, what happened back there?” I inquired.

“I told you, you passed out like a wuss wuss. I guess it was past baby’s naptime.” Eve continued to tease obnoxiously.

“R-Raiden th-thinks it had s-something t-to do w-with the Dragon Fang I-I gave you.” Chane explained wrought with guilt. The poor girl couldn’t even look me in the face when she said it. She looked like she was about to cry.

“It’s not your fault Chane.” I attempted to consol. “I’m the one who asked you for the Dragon Fang plus neither one of us expected me to have such an adverse reaction to it. So put it behind you. I’m alive and I think I’m healthy, so we don’t have a problem.”

“Thanks.” Chane said gratefully giving me a hug. I heard Eve snickering in the corner. I’m sure she had something nasty going on in that mind of hers. When Chane released me, she said “You should go see Raiden. He may not say it out loud, but I think he was worried about you too.”

“Right.” I left the room with Axel to look around the apartment for Raiden. In the living room Zack sat watching TV wearing a different outfit than this morning, this one consisting of a blue silk shirt and white slacks.

“How did the Gym battle go?” I asked Zack walking up behind him. He turned his head back to me allowing me to see a few minor cuts on his face along with a melancholy expression.

“Not only did I lose to Clair by attempting to draw out the match, but then she had her Kingdra use Dragon Pulse on me.” he replied dejectedly. I waited quietly for him to say exactly why she would do that. “I mean, all I did was ask her out to dinner as my treat for being the superior Trainer.”

“And what else did you say?” I pressed knowing that wasn’t the full story.

“Well, I may have mentioned how nice her body looked in blue leather and that I wouldn’t mind her using that whip of hers on me. I mean come on! You can’t dress like a dominatrix and not expect that kind of request.” And there it was. Axel and I couldn’t help but laugh at him. “It’s not funny! Dragon Pulse is not a fun attack to be the victim of, especially when you’re human!” he complained.

“I understand.” I said trying to empathize. It was hard because I’ve never been hit with a Dragon Pulse and it was just too funny.

“There you are Brian.” came Raiden’s voice as he joined us. “Are you feeling well?”

“I am.” I responded. “Thanks for bringing me back.”

“You should be thanking Axel. He knew which Pokéballs Snorlax and Aerodactyl were in to help transport you. All I did was help Axel carry you back to your room.” Raiden said aloofly. “Anyway, whether or not we have a mission tomorrow, you will have the day off to recover.”

“Yeah, I probably do need a day off.” I agreed. First it was my wounds healing quicker and cleaner than they should and now a strange reaction to a Dragon Fang. It was almost like my body was going through a sudden change. “Actually, can we make it the next two days? I would like to see a certain doctor in White City about my condition.” I requested. Prof. Himee was a Pokémon physiologist, but maybe he’d know a thing or two about human physiology as well.

“Very well.” he allowed.

“By the way, whatever happened to the Dragon Fang?” I asked.

“Do not worry about the Dragon Fang. I have it in a safe place. Just make sure you do not touch it again.” informed Raiden. Don’t have to tell me twice.
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The following morning I left for the nearest airport to book a flight for White City. It was too long of a trip for Aerodactyl to make and I figured I had been giving him enough of a work out the last few days anyway.

Brian. Last night Riolu told me that lately he’s been sensing a change in your aura. He said that the biggest spike came when we were in the Dragon’s Den.” Axel brought up while we waited for the gates to open.

“Well as soon as we get to White City, I’m having Prof. Himee do a blood test on me. We’ll have answers soon enough.” I reassured. For a while I had thought about asking Strife Maxwell what was going on since he seems to know a bit more about my family history than I do. It didn’t take me long to dismiss the idea as he may know and not tell me, or he’ll find a way to better use me to his advantage and I will not allow myself to become his tool.

“Flight 3582 to White City is now boarding. Repeat, Flight 3582 to White City now boarding.” an announcement over the speakers said. Axel and I got up from our seats to make our way to the gate.
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